United States District Court, N.D. Indiana, South Bend Division
OPINION AND ORDER
DEGUILIO UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
Cleveland, a prisoner without a lawyer, filed this lawsuit
alleging he is being confined in unconstitutional conditions
and is being denied medical treatment. “A document
filed pro se is to be liberally construed, and a
pro se complaint, however inartfully pleaded, must
be held to less stringent standards than formal pleadings
drafted by lawyers.” Erickson v. Pardus, 551
U.S. 89, 94 (2007) (quotation marks and citations omitted).
Nevertheless, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A, the court
must review the merits of a prisoner complaint and dismiss it
if the action is frivolous or malicious, fails to state a
claim upon which relief may be granted, or seeks monetary
relief against a defendant who is immune from such relief.
has named three defendants in this lawsuit-the D.O.C., Sgt.
Gordon, and Indiana State Prison Medical. As to the
D.O.C.-the Department of Correction-the address listed is the
Indiana State Prison. Liberally construed, Cleveland has
named the Indiana State Prison Warden in his official
capacity as a defendant. “[T]he warden . . . is a
proper defendant [for] injunctive relief [and is] responsible
for ensuring that any injunctive relief is carried
out.” Gonzalez v. Feinerman, 663 F.3d 311, 315
(7th Cir. 2011). Therefore, the clerk will be directed to
edit the docket accordingly.
Eighth Amendment requires that prison officials ensure
inmates are housed in humane conditions of confinement.
Farmer v. Brennan, 511 U.S. 825, 834 (1994). Inmates
are entitled to adequate food, clothing, shelter, medical
care, bedding, hygiene materials, and sanitation. Knight
v. Wiseman, 590 F.3d 458, 463 (7th Cir. 2009);
Gillis v. Litscher, 468 F.3d 488, 493 (7th Cir.
2006). Conditions of confinement may establish a
constitutional violation in combination when each condition
alone would not satisfy the standard. Gillis, 468
F.3d at 493.
Cleveland alleges that, on May 18, 2019, he was placed in a
“stripped down” room and Sgt. Gordon, knowing
that he has a bullet in his neck that causes him pain,
ordered that his mat be taken away. Since that time, he has
been forced to sleep naked on a rusty, metal bed with no
covers. Cleveland alleges that the metal bed is causing him
pain due to a bullet that is lodged in his neck near his
spine. Giving Cleveland the inferences to which he is
entitled at this stage, he has stated a plausible claim for
monetary damages against Sgt. Gordon with respect to the
conditions of his confinement. See Townsend v.
Fuchs, 522 F.3d 765, 773-74 (7th Cir. 2008) (lack of
proper bedding constituted denial of civilized measure of
life's necessities). Cleveland may also proceed against
the Warden in his official capacity for injunctive relief.
medical care, prisoners are entitled to medical treatment
consistent with the Eighth Amendment. Estelle v.
Gamble, 429 U.S. 97, 104 (1976). Prison officials
violate the Constitution if they are deliberately indifferent
to a prisoner's serious medical needs. Id.
However, the constitution does not specify how medical care
must be delivered, Westefer v. Neal, 682 F.3d 679,
681-84 (7th Cir. 2012), and a prisoner “is not entitled
to demand specific care [nor] entitled to the best care
possible.” Forbes v. Edgar, 112 F.3d 262, 267
(7th Cir. 1997). That said, a delay in providing treatment
can constitute deliberate indifference when it causes
unnecessary pain or suffering. Arnett v. Webster,
658 F.3d 742, 752-53 (7th Cir. 2011); Grieveson v.
Anderson, 538 F.3d 763, 779 (7th Cir. 2008).
Cleveland alleges that he is in severe pain and cannot move
his neck due to the metal bed he is being forced to sleep on.
Because the pain is so intense, he is worried that the bullet
lodged in his neck may have moved. He alleges that he has
been requesting medical treatment for the pain and/or an
x-ray for over a week but has not been seen by any medical
professionals or received any care. Giving Cleveland the
inferences to which he is entitled at this stage, he has
stated a claim for injunctive relief against the Warden in
his official capacity to receive medical treatment for his
neck that complies with the Eighth Amendment. However, he
cannot proceed against the Indiana State Prison Medical team
on this claim because this is not a suable
amended complaint contains allegations regarding inadequate
care for his asthma, but Cleveland has already been granted
leave to proceed on that claim in another case: Cleveland
v. Warden, 3:19-CV-406-RLM-MGG (N.D. Ind. filed May 24,
2019). See Pittman v. Moore, 980 F.2d 994, 994-95
(5th Cir. 1993) (it is malicious for a plaintiff with in
forma pauperis status to file a lawsuit that duplicates
allegations of another lawsuit brought by the same plaintiff)
and Lindell v. McCallum, 352 F.3d 1107, 1109 (7th
Cir. 2003) (suit is “malicious” for purposes of
Section 1915A if it is intended to harass the defendant or is
otherwise abusive of the judicial process). Because he is
pursuing a claim for injunctive relief based on a failure to
provide adequate treatment for his asthma elsewhere, he may
not proceed on that claim here.
these reasons, the court:
(1) LIFTS the stay (ECF 9);
(2) DIRECTS the clerk to add the Indiana State Prison Warden
in his official capacity as a defendant
(3) GRANTS Keith Cleveland leave to proceed against the
Indiana State Prison Warden in his official capacity to
obtain injunctive relief to remedy the conditions of his
confinement related to his clothing and bedding to the extent
required by the Eighth Amendment;
(4) GRANTS Keith Cleveland leave to proceed against Sgt.
Gordon in her individual capacity for monetary damages for
subjecting him conditions of confinement related to his
clothing and bedding that violate the Eighth Amendment;
(5) GRANTS Keith Cleveland leave to proceed against the
Indiana State Prison Warden in his official capacity to
obtain injunctive relief to receive medical treatment for his